40 Greatest TV Villains of All Time

From serial killers to cylons, mobsters to murderous moms — counting down the TV characters you love to hate

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21. The Cigarette Smoking Man, 'The X-Files'

It was intended to refer to the likely longterm result of his tobacco habit, but this conspiratorial character's second sobriquet, "Cancer Man," is in many ways more apt. He and his shadowy Syndicate ate away the system from the inside, preparing the planet for alien invasion with a ruthless, decades-long cover-up — which, ironically, only Mulder and Scully managed to uncover. Played with weathered gravitas by William B. Davis, he is perhaps the prime example of the mastermind model of TV villainy.

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